B.C. Teachers’ Federation calls for a strike vote

Salary, staffing and class size are major issues: Union

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) has called for a strike vote.

The vote is a push back against what the union calls “major concession demands, an unfair salary offer, and a deliberately confrontational attempt to reverse the recent B.C. Supreme Court decision on class size, composition, and staffing levels.”

More than 40 sessions at the table and a full year of bargaining have brought the union and the provincial government no closer to reaching a deal.

“Teachers care deeply about our schools, our students and our communities,” said BCTF president Jim Iker. “We don’t take a strike vote lightly. However, this government seems incapable or unwilling to let the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) negotiate fairly with teachers.”

Iker said the government — through BCPSEA — continues to act in bad faith.

“For 12 years teachers have worked to defend our rights, our working conditions, and our students’ learning conditions,” he said. “And once again we find ourselves facing a government focused only on confrontation.”

According to the union BCPSEA’s offer would see teachers in the province go without a wage increase for another two years, despite other public sector workers recently receiving increases of as much as four per cent.

The strike vote will take place on March 4, 5 and 6, 2014. Once the vote is taken, BCTF will have 90 days to activate a form of labour action.

“We will consider all job action options and timing very carefully,” Iker said. “Our goal is to reach a negotiated deal at the bargaining table without having to resort to job action.”

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